Kamupōtia’s Bayon Temple

Here’s one of my favourite shots from my December pilgrimage to the temples of Siem Reap, ‘Kamupōtia’ (“Cambodia”):

Bayon is a 12th century masterpiece, carved-out and completed by an existing settlement of Cambodian ‘tangata whenua’ (“locals”) 100 years before the very first East Polynesian ‘waka-hourua’ (the “double-hulled canoes” of our tīpuna, our ariki, our tipua) landed upon our fair whenua here at the bottom of the South Pacific;

That’s old, whānau.

Colloquially and instantly recognisable worldwide as the “face temple”, credit for the construction of Bayon’s 54 towers and 216+ faces goes to the Khmer-Angkor king of the time, Jayavarman VII.

Rumoured to bear more than a passing resemblance to this guy, no-one seems to be able to definitively say whether these ‘kanohi’ (“faces”) are simply an exercise in self-love, or rather, what they’re also purported to be: the face/s of the ‘bodhisattva’ (earthly “buddha-to-be”), ‘Avalokiteshvara’ (“the lord who looks in every direction” (- explains a lot about the temple, and the orientation of the faces themselves)).

Regardless, I’d yearned really deeply for quite some time to be here and just bliss-out, and felt spectacularly stoked to finally live that.

With its carved faces and corresponding stories on display for all to see, Bayon for me was incredibly reminiscent of the marae atmosphere that’s so easily recognisable and familiar, with ‘whakapapa’ (“the genealogical journey of the place”) at the centre-core of everything.

We’re totally, all of us, indigenous to Papatūānuku, nē..?  We certainly all have our histories etched on her beautiful form some way, some where


Walking To Wellness

Yesterday was a little like ripping off a band-aid – and not for the first time, either.

The ‘tinana’ (body) is a strange and funny thing, despite all its awesomeness.

And to be utterly fair, the key is in knowing your own one intimately enough to be aware of where yours is at – be that in some state of recovery (*currently me, in this second official month of winter here in NZ), or in your very best shape despite the odds, or the season.

Recently I chose to abandon all social media except Instagram, and damn if that wasn’t both personal and purposeful.  To be honest, I have been well over the negativity and crap that comes with Facebook for a while now, so the decision to finally say “fuck you” and leave was simply a matter of ‘when’, and not ‘if’.

I also did my absolute best to experiment with Snapchat (for the #EverestNoFilter campaign, solely), but once Ballinger et al. were done, I was too.

And, what I’ve since found is, there’s so so much to be gained in the way of wellness simply from being – becoming – less available.  Sure, some will struggle to wrap their mind around the many mental/emotional benefits of leaving the land of ‘likes’ and ‘shares’ behind – in this day and age of the ego-driven selfie-groufie-groupie, the notion of others not being driven to the depths of self-loathing due to the/their “lack of” is confusing af.

Life is, after all, a permanent popularity contest – right?

But: what if, in all that newly-discovered, unhindered stillness, lay the opportunity to do something – anything – on the daily, just for you?

And, not even from a place of ego – yeah, nah.  What I’m talking about comes from an angle of ‘aroha’ – of compassion, and empathy, kindness, self-acceptance, and of mindfulness, and turning those very things on yourself, unconditionally, no matter how tricky or strange that might feel at first.

Just, walking your own walk to wellness, eh.

For me, ripping off said band-aid is in fact one way of doing this; ultimately, hiking and (of course) connecting with Papatūānuku is how I manifest and live my existing relationships with both my māmās – my Earth Mother (who nurtures and sustains), and my Mum (now in spirit).

I love the route to Belmont Trig – even post-face-lift, which has clearly served to make the bush-walk portion more accessible to/for more of the surrounding community, be they ‘tamariki’ (children), dog owners, runners, or bush-lovers like me.

Belmont Trig (457 metres) – the highest point in Pōneke.

Despite now feeling slightly less “intrepid” in those initial phases (*starting at Oakleigh Street), the throat of Te Mana still feels sufficiently steep in others – I was certainly marvelling with my mate about our capacity to “deal to” mountains one minute, and then huff and puff our way up a hillside – this fucking hillside – on an entirely different day.

But, that’s real life.

To conclude on the whole “wellbeing” note: one thing that’s along this particular route in abundance is our native ‘kawakawa’ (pepper tree, Macropiper excelsum), whose leaves you can pick to make a tea-brew that’ll not only enhance your personal connection to/with Papatūānuku and ‘Tāne-mahuta’ (atua/deity of the forest and all forest creatures), but add some honey, ground ginger, and turmeric for a pretty bloody superb tummy tonic that’ll also rejuvenate, and energise:

  • Three kawakawa leaves;
  • Three servings/tips of ground ginger (MasterFoods’ shaker);
  • Quarter of a teaspoon of turmeric;
  • One teaspoon of mānuka honey.

‘Haere pai atu, hoki ora mai nei’ (or: Go gently, and return safe and well), always;


A Stone’s Throw

Every so often you find yourself driving a scenic road through a ‘scape with a land-cache that’s seriously worth stopping for.

The asphalt artery connecting (Mount) Tongariro’s ‘National Park’ to (anō, Mount) Ruapehu’s ‘Whakapapa Village’ is the most recent, for me.

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Tongariro’s Silica Rapids Hint At Mythical Superhero Prowess

There are a few ketes-worth of myth and legend describing the origin/s of Tongariro National Park, and the uniquely volcanic landscape that features here.

Like any fabulous story, though, there’s one ever-present superhuman ‘common thread’ that connects them all…

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Getting “Pack Fit” For Ngauruhoe

Currently spending some focused time getting “pack fit” — you know, the kind of fitness that allows one to haul extra weight for days on end through the wilderness, or in my more immediate case: up a mountain summit (this mountain summit actually, although I do have the “wilderness” aspect more than covered over New Year’s, too).

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Chasing Light (*Earthquakes(?), What Earthquakes?)

Something of a Saturday roam “sesh” — November 19, 2016.

Decided to brave Wellington’s prevailing earthquake aftershock routine, and pursue some nature-based “normality”.

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